"Remember the Titans"
Directed by Boaz Yakin.
Written by Gregory Allen Howard.
Starring Denzel Washington and Will Patton.
Release Year: 2000
Review Date: 10/12/00
This and a few more Bellviews are going to
be a bit shorter than usual, because I have a broken pinky and
typing is a bit tougher than normal. Speaking of which, have you
ever broken a pinky? In terms of injuries, this one is a minor
one, and I am thankful that in all of the years that I have been
playing basketball, baseball and tennis, this is my first serious
injury. But, after going to the doctor today, I am trying to make
these visits few and far between.
So, I'm sitting in the doctor's office this
morning. Two different doctors at the Kaiser Permanente medical
center in Falls Church didn't know what to do with my finger since
it was twisted inwards when I broke it in a flag football practice
last Saturday. Today's doc sent me to get new x-rays and then sat
down with me to show me that the twist wasn't as bad as originally
thought. To avoid surgery though, she would have to twist the
finger back into place and then splint the finger. So, after
shooting me with three shots of novocaine--one to the outer-most
vein on my right hand sent blood flying six inches into the air--my
hand was high like a kite, you know what I'm saying? This was good,
since I couldn't feel the doctor's hands as she jerked and twisted
my pinky until it was reasonably close to reset. At one point, she
was pulling on the finger so hard that she asked, "Are you sure that
doesn't hurt? I'm pulling as hard as I can!", which made me (in my
surreal state) wonder what it would look like it she actually pulled
the finger off. Hmm--not a pleasant picture.
But, to relax my hopped-up nerves, Kristin
"Mack" Hollingsworth and I went to see "Remember the Titans"
tonight. This one delivered the goods! Kristin and I were all
smiles after it was over, and we both said almost the same thing:
this was THE best feel-good movie we've seen in a long time. It is
on those rarest of occasions when a movie seems to have almost
everything you can ask for from film: action, adventure, romance,
drama, comedy...hell, this one's even got some musical themes
working for it. And, it does all of them at a very, very high
Briefly, the plot: in 1971 in Alexandria,
Virginia, a black football coach (Denzel Washington) comes up from
North Carolina to take over a newly-integrated football program at
TC Williams High School, where a white football coach (Will Patton)
was the incumbent until the state decided that integration should
start at the coaching level too. Over the course of the season, the
two coaches come together to lead the team through a hellish
training camp at Gettysburg College, a regular season where one loss
means termination for Denzel, intense racism and the Virginia 3a
state championships. There is plenty more drama that I am leaving
out, but that just makes for a better movie experience for you if
you haven't already seen this great film.
And, what makes it great? Let us start with
the obvious question: is this movie another bad football movie,
full of misfit characters, bad and fake-looking football scenes and
ridiculously loud, heroic music? No, no, no. This football movie
is surprisingly deep for what appears on the surface to be "Bring It
On 2: The Gridiron." The mixed players on the team come together
very early in the film, and for the most part, it is very easy to
get into all of the fresh faces that this flick features. The
friendships that the players forge carries the first half of the
film, which makes it great to see how those friendships play out
over the course of the regular season and the lives of the players
off the field. The characters don't try to fit all of those
stereotypes that plagued movies like "Unnecessary Roughness" and the
admittedly-enjoyable-at times "Varsity Blues." The football scenes
are pretty well done--although, there were a few too many of the
bone-jarring hits that make the movie sound like video-game
football--and the music fits the time period.
The acting! Oh, the acting! The kids are
allowed some real lines to say, and a few of them have to make
speeches to the whole team, and they actually don't come off as
cheesy! Denzel is Denzel, so like Jordan he is money in the bank.
Will patton is pretty good here, but of all the actors in the film,
you can't tell me that any of them was better than Patton's little
girl Sheryl in the picture. That kid was amazing! Although she
claims to be nine-and-a-half in the film, she just has to be older
than that. Even as an actress, it is hard to get the football lingo
down as well as this girl did for "Remember the Titans." She has a
future in front of her!
Highly recommended, if you haven't already
seen it. Like I said, the movie just feels good. In that respect,
it is the perfect date movie, family movie, pre-party movie or
Sunday matinee. Or, if you have no friends, seeing it will make you
think "damn, it sure would be nice to not be a complete tool."
Rating: Opening Weekend
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard